Singing to the base: Corcoran & Gillum play hardball as they prepare for party primaries

Singing to the base: Corcoran & Gillum play hardball as they prepare for party primaries
In non-TV debate, Corcoran and Gillum clash on immigration
nTallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran spent nearly 45 minutes debating sanctuary cities.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran spent nearly 45 minutes debating sanctuary cities.

Greetings from Day 37 of the 60-day legislative session in Tallahassee! Yesterday was a big day in state political news, though little of it having to do with the session.

In non-TV debate, Corcoran and Gillum clash on immigration
In non-TV debate, Corcoran and Gillum clash on immigration

Singing to the base: Corcoran &#x0026 Gillum play hardball as they prepare for party primaries

Debatable: A few hundred people showed up on Facebook Live, and just about the entire Tallahassee press corps showed up in person to see House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum — likely and declared governor candidates, respectively — debate sanctuary cities and Corcoran’s ad featuring a hoodie-wearing illegal immigrant gunning down a woman, the Associated Press’s Brendan Farrington reports.

He and a few uninformed legislators attempt to eliminate the essence of newly arrived Americans and now intend to use racial profiling fir their misguided efforts. But, in fact, they have awakened a multitude of honorable people whose universal human values are in direct contrast to their lack of tolerance.
Singing to the base: Corcoran &#x0026 Gillum play hardball as they prepare for party primaries
Singing to the base: Corcoran &#x0026 Gillum play hardball as they prepare for party primaries

I don’t have a whole lot to add to Farrington’s account, but a couple of things. First, who won the debate? That would have to be progressive torch-bearer state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, who was name-checked by Corcoran several times throughout the debate for his bill (HB 1333) that would, in Corcoran’s words, turn Florida into “a sanctuary state.” At least three times, Corcoran demanded to know whether Gillum supported the legislation. Gillum would not answer, likely because he had never heard of the bill, which has never received a committee hearing in either chamber, much less read it.

Florida House speaker’s immigration ad spurs debate

Corcoran is instead pushing a bill (HB 9) that would require local officials to hold suspected illegal immigrants that are the subject of immigration detainers. It would also allow state and local officials to be sued by people harmed by illegal immigrants if those officials ignore the law. The problem with that is that multiple federal judges — including one as recently as last week in California — have ruled that holding people for ICE violates their Fourth Amendment rights. So, Corcoran’s bill would appear to force local officials into choosing between risking a state lawsuit brought by potential victims or a federal lawsuit brought by people caught up in immigration dragnets.

Corcoran: ‘Florida will never be a sanctuary state’

“We’ve looked at all of the Texas litigation, we’ve looked at all the federal litigation,” he said. “What got Texas in trouble, what got some of these other folks in trouble, is that they give that enforcement mechanism which is solely in the hands of ICE, they give that to their own law enforcement officers. We don’t do that. … All we’re saying is to local elected officials is you guys have to cooperate. When ICE reaches out to you and says we want a hold for 48 hours on that individual, you have to cooperate. That’s completely constitutional and within the bounds of all these pieces of litigation you’re seeing out there.”

This does not appear to be entirely true. The case in California specifically found that holding someone for ICE for 48 hours as Corcoran wants is a violation of that person’s Fourth Amendment rights.

Gillum repeatedly criticized Corcoran’s TV ad that shows a teenage girl stalked and shot by a hoodie-wearing male attacker. Corcoran did not respond and instead accused Gillum of refusing to take a position on a “sanctuary state” bill in the House.

Gillum And Corcoran Square Off On Sanctuary Cities

Happily for local elected officials who don’t want to get sued, although the bill has passed the House, it seems to have stalled in the Senate.

Corcoran and Gillum don’t have very much in common, but they are mired deep in political obscurity. A recent poll by the University of North Florida found that 78 percent of voters have not heard of Corcoran and 81 percent have not heard of Gillum.

Having some crow: In yesterday’s newsletter, I wrote about a special election in a House district in Sarasota taking place that day, “I sense another ‘Sure, we lost, but look how close it was compared to 2016’ take coming from a lot of Democrats tonight.”

Richard Corcoran's role in that Sarasota House seat loss
Richard Corcoran’s role in that Sarasota House seat loss

Well, last night, Democrat Margaret Good beat Republican James Buchanan by 7 points and is headed to the Florida House, the Associated Press reports. President Donald Trump carried the district by almost five points in 2016.

Richard Corcoran's role in that Sarasota House seat loss
Richard Corcoran’s role in that Sarasota House seat loss

Boom: Yesterday, the House Commerce Committee cleared the way to lifting Florida’s ban on fireworks sales.

Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum took an exchange that began on Twitter two weeks ago to a television studio, debating a priority bill for Corcoran that would punish local governments if they don’t cooperate with authorities enforcing federal immigration laws.

Jack Latvala will give back $500000 to donors. But he’s keeping millions.

In other news, Florida has a ban on fireworks sales — well, unless you’re buying them to scare birds. It’s all explained in my story.

Penalized for learning too much: In Florida, if students take too many credit hours over what’s needed for a four-year degree (120 credit hours in most cases), they get slapped with fines that effectively double their tuition. The penalty is meant to keep students moving through the system and get them to graduate on time, but it’s financially wrecking people who simply opted to change majors during their time in college. The News Service of Florida’s Lloyd Dunkelberger reports that the Legislature is now considering scaling back the penalty somewhat, allowing students to take a few more courses before getting hit with the fee.

Crashing and burning: A vote on a bill that would preempt local laws on vacation rentals, such as those made through AirBnB, was postponed in a House committee, the Orlando Sentinel’s Gray Rohrer reports. That makes passage fairly unlikely this session. There’s just a couple weeks left, and committees stop meeting before the final week, so if a bill’s gonna get to the floor, it had better clear its committees by the end of next week.

Jared Moskowitz must live under a bridge … ’cause that’s where they keep the trolls. State Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, was a little upset that Democratic bills that would affect state law were not being heard, even as a resolution declaring pornography a public health risk was up for debate in the House Commerce Committee. (The resolution would not actually do anything except declare that the Legislature thinks porn’s problematic.)

Corcoran has made HB 9 a priority this legislative session. He says the measure would ban sanctuary cities by requiring law enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants they’ve arrested for 48 hours after notifying federal officials. It’s a move he says will help to protect the state’s citizens by keeping what he calls undocumented criminals off the streets. Gillum argues the process violates due process because a person may be arrested, but that doesn’t mean they’ve been charged. But Corcoran says an undocumented person doesn’t have due process rights.

So, Moskowitz proceeded to try to add nine amendments to the resolution, including one declaring Nazis and white supremacists a public health menace, and another positing the health risks of porn actress and alleged Trump mistress Stormy Daniels. All the amendments were shot down for not being related to the bill.

But many say the ad mischaracterizes the Steinle story. Steinle was killed in 2015 when a homeless undocumented immigrant, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, found a gun under a park bench in San Francisco. The gun accidentally discharged and a bullet ricocheted off a nearby building before hitting Steinle. A jury found Zarate not guilty in Steinle’s death.

The porn bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, called it a mockery of the legislative process. Spano is running for attorney general.

Gillum calls the ad offensive and says the speaker should apologize and take the ad down. The video shows a man wearing a hoodie shooting a young woman as she walks through her neighborhood. Corcoran told a group of reporters Tuesday the ad isn’t a portrayal of a specific event, but the ad ends with Corcoran telling the story of Kate Steinle.

A lawyer for President Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to a former porn star a month before the 2016 election — part of an agreement to keep her quiet about an extramarital affair she had with the President, according to a report Friday.

A lawyer for President Trump arranged a $130,000 payment to a former porn star a month before the 2016 election — part of an agreement to keep her quiet about an extramarital affair she had with the President, according to a report Friday.

Speaking of porn: President Donald Trump’s long-time lawyer, Michael Cohen, has finally admitted that, yes, he paid $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels after an alleged affair with Trump, the Washington Post’s Mark Berman reports. But, he says the $130,000 came out of his own pocket and should not be considered an unreported campaign expense, as a watchdog group claimed.

The debate was sparked by Corcoran’s anti-sanctuary cities ad and House Bill 9, which is legislation Corcoran is pushing to eliminate sanctuary cities in Florida.

“I am Mr. Trump’s longtime special counsel and I have proudly served in that role for more than a decade,” Cohen said in a statement. “In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”

His statement did not include any particular reason why Cohen shelled out 130 grand to a porn actress.

President Trump’s top intelligence advisor told senators Feb. 13 that he expects Russia to mount an operation to influence U.S. voters in the November 2018 election.

President Trump’s top intelligence advisor told senators Feb. 13 that he expects Russia to mount an operation to influence U.S. voters in the November 2018 election.

Will Russia meddle in the midterms? The Associated Press’s Deb Riechmann reports that intelligence agencies believe so, though at this point, a better question might be, Why would Russia not meddle in the midterms?

The FBI said Tuesday the bureau completed its security check on Rob Porter last summer, contradicting a White House account

The FBI said Tuesday the bureau completed its security check on Rob Porter last summer, contradicting a White House account

Oops: The official White House line on disgraced White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who allegedly beat both of his ex-wives, was that his background check was still ongoing at the time he departed the White House.

The Washington Post reports that FBI Director Christopher Wray has testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Porter’s background check was completed in July.

Next up for the three finalists for lifetime appointments as federal judges — background checks and senate confirmation hearings.

Next up for the three finalists for lifetime appointments as federal judges — background checks and senate confirmation hearings.

Here comes the judges: President Donald Trump has made three picks for the federal bench in South Florida, the Sun Sentinel’s Paula McMahon reports. The judgeships are lifetime appointments and would have jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases in an area that includes the president’s part-time home base of Mar-a-Lago.

Joy Cooper, who has been mayor of Hallandale Beach since 2005, has been arrested and charged with three felonies.

Joy Cooper, who has been mayor of Hallandale Beach since 2005, has been arrested and charged with three felonies.

That’s Mayor London to you: The Hallandale Beach City Commission, reeling from multiple corruption scandals including the arrest of Mayor Joy Cooper, has just appointed Cooper rival and former Vice Mayor Keith London as the city’s new mayor, the Sun Sentinel’s Susannah Bryan reports. He’ll hold the title until November’s election, unless Cooper is found not guilty first. The commission also got a new member, with a fifth on the way in a March 13 election. After that, the five-member commission will be back to five members, having dropped to just three after Cooper’s arrest.

≥280 CHARACTER HOT TAKE: I realize I just ate my words over House District 72 in today’s newsletter, but come on now. If Democrats take over the Florida House in 2018, I will eat my socks.

≥280 CHARACTER HOT TAKE: For an equally giddy but somewhat more realistic take on the special election by a Democratic campaign guy, see above.

≥280 CHARACTER HOT TAKE: Oh God. Has this Corcoran-Gillum thing started a trend? Will we see political candidates debating each other on whatever happens to be the topic du jour? And if so, who’s next and what’s the topic? Caldwell v. Grimsley on citrus greening? Patronis v. Ring on the freshness of the “fresh crab fingers” at Captain Anderson’s? Yeesh.

Debatable: A few hundred people showed up on Facebook Live, and just about the entire Tallahassee press corps showed up in…


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